Next week the Buffalo Vapor Lounge will be introducing its own e-smoking liquid called Buffalo Juice. The mix of premium blends will be named after Buffalo streets and landmarks – for example Minnesota Menthol, Chippewa Chocolate and Bidwell Berry. John’s business incorporates an actual lounge where people can come in and ‘vape’ while playing pool, listening to music or watching TV. John plans on hosting tasting events as Buffalo Juice is rolled out into the market. The different kits that are comprised of atomizers, batteries, tanks and e-liquids range in price from $30 to $85. The Vapor Lounge stocks the Totally Wicked brand of e-cigs, and John encourages smokers to come in and try out an alternative to the traditional cigarette. “There’s free WiFi, a stereo system, flatscreen TV, coffee (bring you mug, as John has Styrofoam cups)… come hang out, and ‘vape’ with us and try the different flavors.”
I’m fully aware that anytime an article is written that discusses the pros and cons of smoking, an air of controversy is sure to follow. I’ve got some friends who smoke, and I would by lying if I said that I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life. Fortunately for me, it’s been quite a while since I’ve taken a puff, but there are others who continue to smoke, whether they like it or not.
When I first saw the sign go up on Hertel broadcasting The Buffalo Vapor Lounge, I naively had no idea what the word ‘vapor’ was referring to. Even though I have seen people with e-cigarettes, and even tried one at one point, the people who have gravitated to this cigarette alternative have been relatively underground. Maybe that’s because the e-cigarette can be smoked virtually anywhere since it doesn’t smell and doesn’t burn. That means that ‘vaping’ leaves less of a mark behind, both physically and health-wise (from what we know so far). People don’t flick e-cigs out car windows. Clothes don’t smell like tobacco. People don’t stand outside of buildings toking en masse. There’s no bad breath. No yellowing of teeth. And more importantly, the e-cigs are being marketed as an alternative to the traditional cigarette as a way to wean smokers from the expensive tobacco versions (now $9 a pack).
Owner of the Buffalo Vapor Lounge, John Bolla, recently told me that he has not touched a cigarette for three months thanks to the e-cig. “I smoked for 42 years,” he said. “Now there’s no more coughing and food tastes better.” As I spoke to John about his unusual business concept he would nonchalantly take a puff two off his e-cig and then put it away again. “Cigarette smokers feel as if they need to finish the cigarette after they light up,” he continued. “The habit is expensive, and nobody wants to waste money by taking a drag or two and disposing of the product. With e-cigs, when you feel the urge coming on you take a puff or two and then go back to what you were doing. The water vapor is the substitute for the smoke. There are over a thousand ingredients in a cigarette. With the e-cig there is no carbon monoxide, no tar, not toxins… and at this point there are no taxes or licenses on it, as the FDA has not approved it yet. Other than nicotine (amounts may vary) there is propylene glycol (an ingredient that is used in a variety of everyday products), vegetable glycerin, food flavoring and water. For smokers, it’s an alternative mechanism that offers the ability to simulate the act of smoking.”
I’m not condoning that anyone go out and starts smoking e-cigs… rather I am suggesting that if cigarette smoking is controlling someone’s life, there may be an alternative that appears to be working for some people who are having a hard time breaking the habit.
1590 Hertel Avenue (just east of Parkside)
Buffalo NY 14216